Toll Roads Approved Even After Moratorium

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AUSTIN -- Texas transportation officials Thursday approved more than 80 toll road projects. All are expected to use some private financing.

Legislators recently passed a two-year moratorium on some
private toll road contracts. The law stills allows state and local planners to move on these projects with a price range of about $50 billion, although the rules have changed.

Under these projects, local officials would get the first crack at development before the state steps in. And even if privately financed, the government would own and operate the roads and collect the tolls.

But with that comes the added risk that if the tolls don't produce the revenue they were expected, taxpayers are stuck with the loss.

The projects approved Thursday touch most of the states largest
cities. Transportation Commission chairman Ric Williamson says they need to be built as toll roads because traditional state funding won't
cover the cost.